Tag Archives: Maple

Start to Thaw Out in the Enchanted Mountains of Western New York with the Annual Maple Weekends

Contributed by Cattaraugus County Tourism

People in a cafeteria area at maple weekends

[Image: Cattaraugus County Tourism]

Cattaraugus County has many tree-lined hills covered with maple trees. This makes March and April some of the best times of year. Why, you ask? Maple season! Time for some sweet, syrupy goodness! With all these beautiful maple trees around, you can bet that we have some of the best tasting maple syrup around as well as maple farms that range from family size to full-on, year ’round productions.

All of New York State shares in this splendid time of year when the world around us starts to thaw out and the sap starts to flow. Therefore, we devote two maple weekends each year to our maple farms. You can tour one of the participating farms, try samples, join in on fun activities, or just purchase some of this liquid goodness. So how does warming up with a hot pile of pancakes sound to ease the cold of winter?

March is the beginning of a season of tradition where local maple farms begin to tap the trees in hopes of some sweet sap flowing down into their buckets. The time period between winter and spring is best for collection, with temperatures around 40 degrees being ideal. Nowadays, trees are tapped with cordless drills and small plastic spouts are placed to run the sap into a hanging bucket. But technology is always changing the ways people do anything, exploding into this process as well. Some maple farms have intricate webs of tubing, going straight from the tree to the tank with vacuums to draw out that delicious sap. Each farm uses the same basic idea to get the sap, but have different techniques and processing systems to bring syrup to your table.

People in a cafeteria at maple weekends

[Image: Cattaraugus County Tourism]

During the maple weekends of March 19–20 and April 2–3 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. each day, some of our maple farms open their sugarhouses, set out the samples, and invite all to share in their love of one of the sweetest products Mother Nature produces. This activity is great for families and is kid-friendly. So lose those winter blues by heading outdoors, learning about your surroundings, and thawing out with Maple Weekends!

Sprague’s Maple Farm in Portville

Offers wagon rides to their authentic old-fashioned Sugar Shack where they have delicious samples waiting for you to try! Have you ever tasted maple wine? Learn a little about the various grades of syrup, sample the different ranges, eat a maple donut, or just stand next to evaporator and take in the smell of boiling sap. You will be sniffing your coat the rest of the week! Starting out as a hobby over 30 years ago, this huge farm now boasts a restaurant serving all your maple favorites as well as free-range turkey dinners. Maple is used in almost every dish that is served, making anything you order sweet and savory.

Wright Farms in Farmersville

It’s worth a visit to see how they are able to manage 8,000 taps. Five generations of Wright’s have worked to maintain the tradition of producing maple syrup and maple products on the farm since 1840. In fact, one of those generations was inducted into the American Maple Museum’s Hall of Fame in 1978 for his contributions to the maple industry. Besides syrup, they make maple cream, which can be used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, french toast, hot cereal, fresh fruit, ice cream, and more!

Boberg’s Maple in Delevan

Known for their Maple Cream, visit Boberg’s for a tasty treat! Their process is more traditional, with older equipment adding to the charm of the Farm. Warm up to this family owned and operated business. Samples are available.

The Pancake House at Moore’s in Freedom

They’re still serving up “all you can eat” pancakes from January to mid-April! Their unique restaurant is also filled with a selection of antiques, including a washing machine, sleds, tools, chinaware, knickknacks, and other memorabilia. This year, they are offering wagon rides to the Sugar Shack, samples, and more fun! Discover why you will be travelling back to this Pancake House over and over again throughout the season.

Maple Glen Sugar House in Gowanda

About 40 miles south of Buffalo, they recently remodeled their sugarhouse. You can come in during Maple Weekends and see the evaporator at work, sample some goodies, and learn about their farm that started out 20 years ago and now takes care of over 4,000 taps! In the past, they had horse-drawn wagon rides, tours, and demonstrations as well as other food you can buy. See what surprises they have for you this year.

Bottles and decor at Cattaraugus County Maple Weekend

[Image: Cattaraugus County Tourism]

Whatever farm you decide to go to, admission is FREE and all are more than happy to welcome you to their sugarhouse with a sweet, warm aroma of heated maple syrup. Each farm takes pride in their product and are happy to be doing what they are. Come to Cattaraugus County and embrace our agricultural side—your stomach will thank you!

Are two weekends not enough? Then keep a heads up for the Franklinville’s WNY Maple Festival April 24–25—two days of pancake eating, craft items, a parade, and live demonstrations. Read more about these events and places on our website, or get more information by calling 1-800-331-0543 or emailing info@enchantedmountains.com.

Thaw Out in the Enchanted Mountains at the Annual Maple Weekends This March!

Contributed by Cattaraugus County Tourism

About the beginning to middle of March, most people start to grow tired of the cold or have a severe case of cabin fever. Cattaraugus County is otherwise known as the Enchanted Mountains for its vast countryside, serene landscapes, and picturesque hills and valleys. With expansive forests and an area indigenous to tall maple trees, Cattaraugus County offers up some of the best maple syrup you can please your taste buds with. In fact, the area loves maple syrup so much they have two weekends devoted to their maple farms, when they invite visitors to learn about their process and sample their goods. So, how does warming up with a hot pile of pancakes sound to ease the cold of winter?

Row of different grades of bottled maple syrup [Image Credit: John P. Welksnar]

Maple syrup comes in different grades. Learn more about them and even taste a few at the Annual Maple Weekends! [Image Credit: John P. Welksnar]

March is the beginning of a season of tradition, where local maple farms begin to tap the trees in hopes of some sweet sap flowing down into their buckets. The time period between winter and spring is best for collection, with temperatures around 40 degrees being ideal. Various legends exist to explain the initial discovery. One is that the chief of a Native American tribe threw a tomahawk at a tree, sap ran out, his wife tasted it and found it to be sweet, then boiled venison in the liquid. Another version holds that Native Americans stumbled on sap running from a broken maple branch.

Nowadays, trees are tapped with cordless drills and small plastic spouts are placed to run the sap into a hanging bucket. But technology is ever changing the ways people do anything, and has exploded into this process as well. Some maple farms have intricate webs of tubing, going straight from the tree to the tank, with vacuums to draw out that delicious sap. Each farm uses the same basic idea to get the sap, but have different techniques and processing systems to bring syrup to your table.

Old green tractor ride [Image Credit: John P. Welksnar]

Image Credit: John P. Welksnar

Maple farms in the Cattaraugus County area will play host to the public and encourage families to come see how they produce syrup, teach how much sap it really takes to make the syrup, and offer samples. Some of the farms will have the evaporators running, give tree tapping demonstrations, and share the history of their farm. This activity is great for families and is kid friendly, running from 10am-4pm each day, March 21-22 and 28-29. Get out of the house, explore your environment and learn something new!

Sprague’s Maple Farm in Portville will display their authentic old-fashioned sugarhouse along with various demonstrations, sugar on snow parties, wagon rides to the sugarhouse, and activities for the kids. Starting out as a hobby over 30 years ago, this huge farm now boasts a restaurant serving all your maple favorites as well as free-range turkey dinners. Maple is used in every dish that is served making anything you order sweet and savory!

Rows of old bottles and cans inside a sugar shack [Image Credit: John P. Welksnar]

Image Credit: John P. Welksnar

Visit Wright Farms in Farmersville to see how they are able to manage an astonishing 7,200 taps. Five generations of Wright’s have worked to maintain the tradition of producing maple syrup and maple products on the farm. In fact, one of those generations was inducted into the American Maple Museum’s Hall of Fame in 1978 for his contributions to the maple industry.

Stop by Boberg’s Maple in Delevan, known for their Maple Cream, for a tasty treat! Their process is more traditional with older equipment adding to the charm of the farm. Warm up to this family-owned and operated business.

Red sign for Moore's Pancake House [Image Credit: John P. Welksnar]

Image Credit: John P. Welksnar

The Pancake House at Moore’s in Freedom still serves up “all you can eat” pancakes from January to mid-April, but you can order their products online, by phone, or in their store out back. Their unique restaurant is filled with a selection of antiques, including a washing machine, sleds, tools, chinaware, knickknacks and other memorabilia.

Maple Glen Sugar House in Gowanda will present a candy making demo for Maple Weekends.   Their store offers a variety of unusual gifts for sale like 7 flavors of gourmet pancake mix, maple sugar, maple sugar candies, maple cream, jellies, and maple mustard to maple peanuts.

Plate with a stack of pancakes [Image Credit: John P. Welksnar]

Image Credit: John P. Welksnar

The health benefits of maple syrup are becoming more evident. It can be used in a variety of recipes as a substitute for sugar, having more nutritional value. It is all natural, fat-free, cholesterol-free and has as much calcium as a glass of whole milk.

Whatever farm you decide to go to, admission is FREE and all are more than happy to welcome you to their Sugar House with a sweet warm aroma of maple syrup being heated. Each farm takes pride in their product and are happy to be doing what they’re doing. Come to Cattaraugus County and embrace their agricultural side…. your stomach will thank you! Naturally Yours to discover and play in!

Two weekends not enough? Then keep a heads up for the Franklinville’s WNY Maple Festival on April 25-26. Two days of pancake eating, craft items, a parade, and live demonstrations. Read more about these events or places on their website: www.EnchantedMountains.com or get more information by calling 1-800-331-0543 or emailing info@enchantedmountains.com.

March Maple Syrup Madness!

The syrup season is upon us so it’s time we talk about nature’s warming and delicious condiment. High in the running for most delicious substance on earth, this protean liquid is often eaten on snow, pancakes, waffles and french toast, or you can just drink some of it straight and it’s like a Canadian vacation for your mouth!

Just make sure you’ve got the right kind of tree, since oak syrup is not as popular. Two words: sugar maples. We are salivating just writing that phrase. Seriously, what are these—magical candy trees!? Okay, three words: highest sugar content. That’s what makes these trees the best.

March Maple Syrup Madness Sugar Bush

Image: www.farm8.staticflickr.com/7047/6954113823_65210f440f.jpg

You can identify trees by their leaves. Sugar maples will have yellow leaves in the fall, and they will be perpendicular from the branch with three distinct lobes, making a kind of “w” shape. You can look at the Canadian flag for reference.

March Maple Syrup Madness Canada Flag

Image: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_Canada.svg

In parts of the country where the weather is cold, the trees stockpile a collection of starch in their roots and trunks. When the weather starts getting warmer, this starch gets transformed into sugar which rises in the trees’ sap. At this point you would tap the tree, get the sap and boil it down to get the concentrated and sweet syrup.

But how was maple syrup discovered?

Written history concerning maple syrup only goes back so far, to about 1557. There are, however, origin stories that come from various indigenous people of North America such as the Iroquois, Abenaki and Micmac. The legend goes like this: the maple trees were created by, well, the Creator, with their delicious and sugary syrup that flowed all year long. Apparently, with this free flowing sap as sustenance, the people no longer had to hunt and cook their own food and stopped taking care of their gardens. So, the villages were like ghost towns, with all the people hanging out in the adjacent woodlands, just laying around, letting the syrup drip out of the trees into their open mouths. So then this guy Glooskap, who was some sort of troublemaker with magic powers, showed up and started pouring water into the trees to thin the syrup. Then he told everyone the trees would only produce syrup in the winter and they all had to go back to hunting and fishing and gardening until then. (Sounds like a great guy.)

March Maple Syrup Madness Indigenous Syrup

Syrup-making among the indigenous people of  North America
[Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/99/Sugar-Making_Among_the_Indians_in_the_North.gif]

There’s also another, not as involved, origin story where a chief threw a tomahawk into a tree, causing sap to flow out. His wife cooked some venison in it, and syrup was discovered.

Whatever the exact origins, European settlers got the idea from the indigenous peoples and introduced various methods to refine the process. Pretty soon Native Americans and settlers alike were boiling the sap in copper pots and making delicious maple syrup. Interestingly enough, maple syrup production is one of the only agricultural processes indigenous to the northeast that was not introduced by Europe.

March Maple Syrup Madness Tap

Have a cool, tree-filtered syrupy draft.
[Image: www.blog.farmmade.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/maple-tree-tapped.jpg]

Today this stuff continues to be serious business and highly profitable; there are even maple syrup thieves. You can’t make this stuff up! We smell a new HBO series based on the sweet sticky underground network of sap thieves.

March Maple Syrup Madness Activities

Image: www.toadhaven.com/images/maple%20syrup%20036.JPG

To celebrate the syrup season, ParksByNature has got you covered with some great syrup-themed state park activities.

We’re not exactly giving you a comprehensive blueprint for starting your own syrup empire, but you can gain some first-hand knowledge about syrup production at these March park-sponsored events. Since there’s a whole sugar bush of them, it’s like March Maple Syrup Madness!

The 44th Annual Cunningham Falls State Park Maple Syrup Festival
On March 8, 9, 15 and 16

4 Super Sweet Ohio Maple Syrup Festivals
-Hueston Woods‘ Maple Syrup Festival (March 3-4 & March 10-11)
-Malabar Farm‘s 36th Annual Maple Syrup Festival (March 3-4 & March 10-11)
-Maple Sugaring in the Hills at Hocking Hills (March 10-11)
-Indian Lake‘s 27th Annual Maple Syrup Festival (March 17-18)

Be sure to bring the whole family, because it’s no secret that kids love sipping on straight maple syrup! Maybe later you can make some grilled french toast kabobs. Be sure to comment on all things syrup related, but just know that we might not get back to you instantly—all this syrup talk is making us consider a road trip to a waffle house.

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